COVID-19: These are the five states in India with the highest positivity rates

COVID-19: These are the five states in India with the highest positivity rates
COVID-19 test positivity rates have jumped in India over the last two weeksUnsplash
  • In 17 states, the test positivity rate is above the 5% level recommended by the World Health Organisation for easing restrictions.
  • Overall, India has a test positivity rate of 6.2% - 11 states are above this national average.
  • India has reported the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in the world over the last five days.
India’s daily test positivity rate has increased in the second wave of COVID-19, leading to a huge increase in the number of cases reported every day. India has reported the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in the world consistently over the last five days, recording a higher number each day.

What is COVID-19 test positivity rate?



Test positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for COVID-19 compared to the total number of people who have been tested. A higher positivity rate is worrying as it suggests a higher prevalence of the disease.

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These are the five states with the highest test positivity rate in India:

StatePositive casesTotal testsPositivity rate
Maharashtra42,95,0272,57,49,54317%
Goa77,4776,19,81113%
Chhattisgarh6,52,36269,18,2509%
Kerala14,05,6561,51,16,7229%
Nagaland13,1831,43,9189%

Source: Covid19India.org

Note that these are cumulative numbers.
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With a minimum limit of 1 lakh positive cases, these are the five states with the highest test positivity rate, for a more representative sample:

StatePositive casesTotal testsPositivity rate
Maharashtra42,95,0272,57,49,54317%
Chhattisgarh6,52,36269,18,2509%
Kerala14,05,6561,51,16,7229%
West Bengal7,43,9501,01,66,7967%
Madhya Pradesh4,99,30474,56,7017%

Source: Covid19India.org

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States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal are infamous for the mass public gatherings in recent days and yet official data seems to suggest that they are better off than states that have enforced stricter curfews and more stringent lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.

For instance, the test positivity rate in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is a meagre 2.7% and 1.6% respectively, while the national average is 6.2%. Recovery rate for UP and Bihar is 71.6% and 77.9%, respectively, which is a lot lower than the national average of 82.6%.

One possibility is that the testing rate in other states are better but there is a widespread belief that official data from states like UP, Bihar and West Bengal may be underreporting cases as well as deaths. These states are also infamous for poor healthcare infrastructure and limited access to even primary healthcare in many of their districts.

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The World Health Organisation states that the positivity rate should remain below 5% before restrictions can be eased. As of April 25, 17 states have positivity rate above 5% - the overall national average is also above this limit, at 6.2%.

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